Families Together, Inc. is the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) for Kansas. They provide support to families of children with disabilities. This support includes programs designed to build and sustain strong, healthy, informed, and actively involved family members who can work together to improve the lifelong outcomes for their child or sibling with a disability.
The Kansas Infinitec Coalition (KIC) is the result of an enduring partnership of more than 14 years between the KSDE and UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago. Through this partnership, KIC supports a local cadre of Kansas professionals who provide assistance to Kansas districts on the consideration and use of instructional and assistive technologies (AT). Kansas Infinitec is committed to expanding the skills of local IEP teams to address the needs of all students with disabilities in order to improve students’ outcomes.
High Quality Instruction within Inclusive Learning Environments builds upon the successful collaboration between the Infinitec and Co-Teaching projects within the Kansas Technical Assistance System Network. The project’s overarching goal is to increase access to general education curriculum for all learners through the collaborative integration of technology in inclusive environments by providing a structured, ongoing professional learning system. The project increases both local and state-wide capacity through a cadre of trainers and coaches who provide high quality professional learning, and support the implementation of high leverage instructional practices within a Universal Design for Learning framework.
The Kansans Can Competency Framework provides a structured, embedded process for developing career-equipped, lifelong learners that are socially and emotionally engaged. Through a school-wide focus on intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, enacted through implementation elements (i.e., effective collaboration, multi-tier instruction and interventions, and data-based decision making), students develop self-regulation, self-efficacy, assertiveness, and conflict management. Through collaboration with KSDE, Kansas educators become recognized trainers in the Competency Framework and provide professional development across the state.
The Kansas e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) program provides ongoing, online mentoring to teachers beginning careers in special education. This project represents a partnership between the KSDE and the Kansas Education Employment Board at the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center. Mentors, who are experienced educators in Kansas and nationwide, undergo a rigorous training process to ensure mentees receive quality mentorship.
Through the KSDE, the Kansas Education Employment Board (KEEB), administered by the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center (Greenbush), is a free recruitment service aimed at attracting highly qualified candidates to Kansas education jobs. KEEB provides an innovative, user-friendly, universal recruitment and employment website (www.kansasteachingjobs.com) that Kansas schools and universities can use to advertise job openings. KEEB allows applicants to apply for positions electronically and provides information on licensure, state sponsored tuition and scholarship programs, and resumé assistance. Additionally, KEEB produces the annual Kansas Special Education Attrition Report to determine the number of individuals leaving special education positions in Kansas each year.
The Kansas Instructional Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KIRC) provides instructional materials and services, including professional development seminars, to support teachers across Kansas working with students with visual impairments. The project represents a partnership between the KSDE and the Kansas State School for the Blind.
The KSDE addresses the Elementary and Secondary Education Act priority of providing comprehensive support and improvement to qualifying schools through sustained coaching within a rigorous and collaborative systems-change process facilitated by the Kansas Learning Network (KLN). In partnership with the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center, KLN coaches work closely with school and district leadership teams to complete a comprehensive needs assessment focusing on root causes, data analysis, risk factors, and expansion of successful elements of the school system. Schools and districts then develop and carry out action plans to modify their infrastructure to improve outcomes for all learners.
In an effort to address potential learning loss and improve early literacy, struggling readers and to ensure teachers have the knowledge to effectively support all students with reading instruction, KSDE is supporting the training of PreK-Grade 3 instructional staff in identified districts using LETRS 3rd Edition. This effort will begin in the fall of 2021.
The KSDE, through a collaboration with Keystone Learning Services, offers the Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) and Alignment project, which provides multi-phase training and coaching to district leadership and building teams pre-k through high school to implement an aligned academic, behavioral, and social-emotional framework in achievement of the five Kansas State Board of Education outcomes.
The KSDE and the Kansas Parent Information Resource Center (KPIRC) support meaningful family engagement at all levels of education to promote the educational success of each Kansas child. KPIRC partners with other TASN projects (e.g., Kansas Learning Network, Kansas MTSS and Alignment, the School Mental Health Initiative) to infuse family engagement strategies into statewide professional development. Staff collaborate at the state and local levels to incorporate family engagement into policies for accreditation (KESA); School Redesign; and the five State Board outcomes of Kindergarten Readiness, Graduation Rates, Postsecondary Success, Individual Plans of Study, and Social-Emotional Growth.
The Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB) Field Services Department collaborates with both the KSDE and the TASN Coordination project to recruit and train Teachers of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (TSVI) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS). The TASN support offsets tuition and fees, books, and some travel while participants are attending the out-of-state, graduate-level teacher preparation programs. This includes KSSB providing preservice mentoring and onsite support to participants in training. Additionally, participants complete an immersion experience at KSSB which fulfills the student teaching and/or internship requirements of their program.
The KSDE, through collaboration with the Kansas School for the Deaf (KSD) and the TASN Coordination project, facilitates access to training to develop Teachers of the Deaf by offsetting tuition and books for a master’s level teacher preparation program. Additionally, KSD provides mentoring, on-site student teaching, and immersion experiences.
The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Special Education and Title Services (SETS) provides leadership and support all learners receiving special education or title services throughout Kansas schools and communities.
The Kansas Autism and Tertiary Behavior Supports (ATBS) project is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of master educators, behavior specialists, speech language pathologists, and social workers with the goal of supporting Kansas school districts in building local capacity to serve children with diverse learning or complex and challenging behavioral needs. In collaboration with the KSDE, the ATBS team provides on-site support; technical assistance and consultation; resources; and interrelated, evidence-based professional development on the educational identification of autism, structured teaching, behavior interventions, communication assessment and instruction, social competencies, coaching, and skills for Kansas educators.
The TASN Capacity and Development Project, through contract, is administered by Utah State University/TAESE and awarded by the Kansas State Department of Education(KSDE) Special Education and Title Services division. TASN Capacity Development project assists in maintaining State Education Agency compliance with IDEA and ESSA and supports activities to attain the vision and outcomes of the Kansas State Board of Education and KSDE.
Technical Assistance System Network (TASN) Coordination collaborates with the KSDE Special Education and Title Services (SETS) leadership to maintain the vision of the KSDE TASN. TASN Coordination is administered by Pittsburg State University College of Education. The TASN Coordination team focuses on scaling-up the TASN in a way that aligns and integrates the work of the funded initiatives to build statewide capacity. The goal is a structure that provides accessible, statewide services and supports to educators and families to achieve improved outcomes for students pre-kindergarten through high school.
The Kansas Co-Teaching project is a partnership between the KSDE and Infinitec at United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago. This research-based model of co-teaching was created by three national experts, Drs. Richard Villa, Jacquelin Thousand, and Ann Nevin, and expands evidence-based instructional practices that support teachers to personalize students’ learning. Kansas has adopted and refined this model and built sustainable capacity for professional learning though a cadre of 11 state and regional trainers who have completed a rigorous certification process.
In collaboration with KSDE Special Education and Title Services leadership, TASN Evaluation provides a comprehensive evaluation of the KSDE Technical Assistance System Network (TASN) and each TASN project. Evaluation efforts focus on increasing the effectiveness, implementation, and sustainability of TASN projects to ensure that projects’ efforts are evidence based, meaningful, and have a positive, lasting impact on educators, families, and students. The TASN Evaluation project is housed at Research Collaboration in the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.
The General Supervision, Timely and Accurate Data (GSTAD) project, through a contract administered by Keystone Learning Services and awarded by the KSDE Special Education and Title Services division, supports Kansas districts by: • Assisting with training and support for Management Information System (MIS) data collection • Assisting with data reporting, ensuring that KSDE has timely and accurate data.
The KSDE operates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 84.323A State Personnel Development Grant, which funds the Kansas School Mental Health Initiative (SMHI). The SMHI provides a professional development and coaching system to integrate school mental health and trauma-informed practices within the Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports and Alignment framework. By leveraging school-community resources and facilitating collaboration between school districts and community mental health providers, the SMHI aims to improve outcomes for students and families in alignment with the Kansas State Board of Education outcome of social-emotional growth.